I had Omicron on the day I was asked if I had any interest in writing an article about being "over" COVID. I quickly said yes, as this was our second round with COVID in our small four-person family, and I was feeling very over all of it.
My daughter was the first to have symptoms. I offered to sleep with her and be the first parent to be exposed, knowing that my husband would soon follow. She had just turned 5 and was about to get her vaccine…more on that later. Anyway, I knew I would be next, and then my husband.
My son, however, was the last man standing again (he was the first time around, too), without any symptoms and continually testing negative on both exposures. He’s seven. At some point, while masked and standing from afar, I tried to teach him how to make a quesadilla. His reply: “This sucks. Can someone just breathe on me so that I can get it over with and cuddle?”
I know that we are not the only family that has tried to quarantine in the same house away from other family members. It seems futile and like we should all embrace the suck and get it over with all at once vs. one at a time. I guess that is another sign: I’m over it!
The first time was scary, as it was four months into the pandemic, and both my husband and I were working in the trenches with people struggling and severely affected by COVID. Vaccines had not yet been created, and everything felt ominous and unknown. After that first bout with COVID, we found our way back to “normal” — if there even is such a thing. We found a way to see family and travel safely within our “pod." (Another thing I’m over are these new terms that flow like water and are now as common as “LOL": pod, pivot, resilience, quarantine, virtual learning, social distancing…the list goes on.)
But this time, it was different.
It had been two-and-a-half years since we had seen my side of the family in California — for many reasons, but mostly because my parents don’t love science and didn’t want the vaccine. After many conversations about how to travel home during the holidays and remain safe, we came up with a game plan. For instance, this even meant not seeing my Uncle Ralph, who's 80, because he wouldn’t get the vaccine or stop frequenting casinos. The risk would be too high for us, leaving us judged by many.
We survived 10 days in California, where people felt like masks were optional and that we were the crazy ones, living in fear. I have always operated from a science and intuition approach, but to each their own opinion. We took educated risks and felt good about our trip.
Back home a few weeks later, it was my daughter's fifth birthday. Everyone had canceled because the numbers were too high, so that only left our immediate family, her aunt, and her grammy. It wouldn’t be the fifth birthday of her dreams, but it would be as fun as we could make it…except that our fully-vaccinated and boostered family brought us Omicron. Thankfully we all had mild symptoms and got through it relatively quickly. Thank you science, and God, and all my friends who knew we needed a meal or cinnamon rolls. Thank goodness we got over it.
This “over it” feeling continues as I work every single day trying to help others move through it. As a therapist, I study a topic of interest or a topic that has impacted us at one time or another and use that information to help others. This is the hardest time to be a therapist because we are living the trauma with our clients. We are suggesting to do things that we think will help, but that we can’t find the energy to do ourselves. We are listening and caring more than ever for the doctors and nurses on the frontlines, knowing that this virus will remain in our field for so many years to come.
The other day my son wanted to go to the grocery store with me, and I quickly said yes. At the store, he asked if he could eat some raspberries out of the clam shell, “like the good ol’ days.” I said yes to the unwashed raspberries, so long as he ate them under his mask. I continued about my shopping, but when I turned around to look at him, there were tears running down his face.
My first response was, ”Did you bite your tongue?"
He said, “Mommy, I don’t remember the good ol’ days. I don’t remember not wearing a mask to the store.”
We both cried a little bit.
He asked more questions: "When will this end? Will we ever go to the store or school without a mask?”
This conversation broke my heart. A quarter of his life has been living with COVID. It has impacted every year of his elementary school experience so far. I realized here in this moment it wasn’t just me that was over it; we are over it. All of us.
For the last two years, I have been working overtime at both work and mom life. I have been trying to be more engaging, more crafty, more fun, more adventurous, more everything by redefining adventure. None of it matters on days when you just need to say, “I’m over it!” It’s okay to just be done and to say it out loud. Many famous psychologists say that by stating your feelings, you can move them in your brain to be able to better process them in your body. I’m writing this to encourage all of us to speak our truth on our toughest days, and to allow our kiddos to do the same.